Sheila Williams' Seer, who made two starts on the flat last year at Monmouth Park, rallied past pacesetter Dr. Bloomer and favorite Be Certain in the final furlong to win the $75,000 Monmouth County Hunt Novice Stakes at Monmouth Park Saturday.
Trained by Jack Fisher, the 4-year-old son of Pulpit scored for the second time in five jump starts (all this year) — defeating Be Certain by a head with Dr. Bloomer third. Ridden by leading steeplechase jockey Xavier Aizpuru, Seer returned $9.60 and covered the 2 1/4 miles and 10 fences in 4:22 2/5.
A Kentucky-bred son of Pulpit, the winner lost all five flat starts in 2007 for owner/breeder Jayeff B Stable and trainer Alan Goldberg. Sold to Fisher late last year, Seer broke his steeplechase maiden at Colonial Downs June 15, then broke his flat maiden June 28. At Saratoga this summer, he finished second July 30 and third Aug. 21.
Aizpuru credited his horse's bravery at the final fence.
"I had a tough decision to make after the second-last — I was either going to have to make a big sweeping run around the outside which I didn't want to do or i was going to have to sit and suffer down on the inside and pray that a gap came," said the jockey. "At the last fence, as brave as he'd been up to then I had to ask him to be brave again, and to more extreme than the rest. Give the horse credit. It was a tight hole and he got there."
Seer finished second to Dynaski in a novice stakes July 30 at Saratoga, and returned Aug. 21 to finish third (beaten a half-length) behind The Price Of Love and Dynaski after bobbling badly at the last fence. He avenged that defeat at Monmouth as The Price Of Love settled for fifth.
"I'm delighted for the horse because with everything we've asked him to do this year, he's improved and improved and given us everything," said Aizpuru. "He deserved one."